Sometimes, you think you have bought the perfect pair of shoes. The style is perfect, they look amazing, and they are everything you ever wanted from a pair of leather shoes. You are ready to keep these shoes for life. But then you try to put them on and find that they just don’t fit. They might look like the perfect shoes, but they are too big, and when you put your foot in the shoe, it slides around like you are trying to wear a boat instead of a shoe. If that sounds familiar, then you probably want to know how to make a shoe smaller to fit better.

Learning to shrink shoes is not as easy as shrinking a shirt that is too big, but there is no need to worry. Once you have learned all the tricks you need, it will be easy to make a big shoe fit properly, and you will never need to send a shoe back to the store again. Here at Shoe Advisor, we have put together a guide to how to shrink a shoe to make it fit your feet better. If you are sick of sending back shoes that are a little too big, then just read on below to learn how to make shoes smaller so you can keep your favorites without worrying about blisters and discomfort.

How to Shrink your Shoes to the Perfect Size

There are three main options you can try to use to shrink a pair of shoes that are too big to fit properly. All of these are simple options that work perfectly for leather shoes, and none of them need specialist tools or equipment. Most people will already have all of the things they need for these shoe shrinking methods at the back of a cupboard somewhere. None of these are straightforwardly and objectively better or worse than any other, so just pick whichever one appeals to you most and get started on making your shoes fit your feet like a glove for your feet!

Shrinking Shoes with a blow dryer

A loose pair of leather shoes can be frustrating and expensive. But rather than sending them back to the store, you can keep them in your life by shrinking them to fit your feet better. What you will need for this method is very simple: just a spray bottle of water and a blow dryer.

Once you find these items, use the water spray bottle to spray a generous amount of water onto your shoe. You don’t want to soak the shoe completely, but you will need to make it fairly wet. After you have sprayed water on the shoes use your blow dryer, set to a medium heat, to dry the water out of the shoes. The heat from the blow dryer will shrink your leather shoes, making them fit your feet better. Once your shoes are completely dry and there is no water left in the leather, put them on and see if they fit your feet the way you would like. If they are still a bit too loose, just get the dryer and water bottle back out again and repeat the process!

Using a clothes dryer to shrink shoes

While a leather pair of shoes can be easily shrunk to fit your feet with a blow dryer and spray bottle, a pair of canvas shoes will take a slightly more intensive shrinking process in order to get them to fit as well as you would like. For this method, you will want a large amount of water and a clothesdryer. Remember, this only works for canvas shoes and not leather ones. Using this method on a leather shoe can damage the leather and ruin the shoes!

Simply get your canvas shoes completely soaked with water and put them in the dryer. Leave them in the dryer to dry for somewhere between 10 and 15 minutes, and they should be noticeably smaller by the time your shoes are fully dry!

Adding Cushions to your Shoes

If you don’t want to deal with the trouble of getting your shoes wet and then leaving them to dry, then you can just pad your shoes out with carefully placed cushions, keeping them fully dry all the time. If your shoe is too long for your foot, just put an insole in to pad the back of your foot a bit. If there is too much space around your toes or if there is a gap between the top of your shoe and your foot, then a full-sized insole or a focused toe insole should be ideal for padding your shoes and making them fit your feet perfectly without having to actually physically shrink the shoes themselves.

Can you Shrink Vans slip ons?

As long as your vans are only a little too large, you can shrink them to fit your feet better. If the rubber sole element is too large, then you won’t be able to do anything to that part, and no amount of shrinking will help your shoes to fit. If it is just the canvas part that is too large, however, then that can easily be shrunk so that your shoes are a better size for your feet. Let us take a look at how to make vans shoes smaller.

Shrinking Vans Slightly

If your vans shoes are only a little bit too large for your feet, then you can easily start shrinking them down to size a little bit with a regular household blow dryer. This is a simple process that should pose no problems, but it won’t make an enormous difference to the size of your vans shoes. This option is best for vans canvas shoes that are only a tiny bit too large for your feet and only require a little bit of shrinking to be perfect.

To start with, wet your shoes with water. The wetter you manage to get the canvas uppers of your shoes, the more shrinkage you will be able to get out of them. Wetter shoes will take longer to dry out, though, so the process will take longer!

Once you have wet the canvas uppers of your vans shoes, grab a standard blow dryer, set it to a medium heat, and use it to dry out the canvas. As the heat hits the canvas, it will start shrinking the fabric as it dries. By the time your shoes are completely dried out, they should be a little bit smaller, thanks to the heat.

Shrinking Vans more in the Dryer

While this option still won’t do anything to the rubber sole parts of your vans shoes, if you want to try shrinking the canvas upper part of the shoes by a larger amount, then a standard home clothes dryer might help. Soak the canvas uppers of your vans shoes with water to start with. Be sure to evenly soak the entirety of the shoes for the most even shrinkage possible. Any areas that are not wet will remain the same size!

Once your shoes are thoroughly wet, just put them in your clothes dryer. Run the machine for somewhere between 10 and 15 minutes, and the heat should work well for shrinking the canvas fabric and helping your shoes to be more comfortable.


The options listed above are some of the easiest ways you can try for shrinking your shoes at home, but none of them are perfect. It is impossible to get even shrinkage at home, and the only way to ensure perfectly even shrinkage of your shoes is to take them to a professional for adjustment. If all you are looking for is a simple way to get your shoes fitting a little bit better, however, then any of the options above should work well.

Remember not to use any heat-based method for shrinking shoes on patent leather footwear, though! Patent leather is impossible to reduce in size properly, and your only option there is to pad them out with cushions or insoles.

No matter how hesitant you are with altering your clothing, any of the shoe shrinking options above should be easy to complete at home. None of these require specialist skills or equipment, and most people should be able to have a go at these methods without needing to get hold of any additional equipment at all!

About the Author

Hey, I'm Lilly Harvey. If there's two things I'm passionate about in life, it's shoes and writing!

Combining both my passions with my Fashion Design degree, I've helped create Shoe Adviser to help readers choose the best shoes for them, enjoy!

We hope you enjoyed our article on "How to Shrink Shoes to The Perfect Size", if so, please share and rate it.